My Favorite Products For Spring 2017

This is a long overdue post. I love reading about products people use in the real world. What actually works, what tastes good and why they like them. This list contains the products I’ve been excited about the most this Spring.

Run Gum


I can’t advocate this product enough. I love both the flavor and caffeine hit. It goes down easy and seriously works! I’ve not only used it for long runs, but speed workouts or mid week medium length runs when I am a bit tired. Try this product out!

Nikki’s Coconut Butter


I’ve made no secret that Nikki makes some bomb coconut butter. She sent me a few jars a month or so ago and it had replaced Earth Balance or peanut butter on my waffles. It’s subtly sweet, but really hearty. I melt it in the microwave and pour it over my waffles or top my oats with it and breakfast is sent to flavortown! I recently heard about a recipe that stirs it into coffee? Has anyone tried this? I don’t drink coffee at home, so I have not entered that realm, but it sounds amazing!

Sensa Wireless Headphones

I needed a replacement for my wireless headphones that I lost at the 50 miler. Amazon had a deal, so I grabbed these headphones hoping they were as good as my old ones. I wouldn’t say they are as good, but they do the job and work for what I need right now. They have good sound and stay in. I don’t have any complaints as they were a quarter of the price of my last pair.

Soda Stream

Last year, a friend introduced me to sparkling water. At first, I was less than impressed. Expensive water with bubbles? Pass. I’ll take my water on tap (see what I did there?). However, I noticed that when I drank the sparkling water, it stayed with me and actually hydrated me. Sometimes when I drink plain water, I just pee it out, which is both inconvenient and not hydrating. Well, sparkling water did the hydration job but I did not want to pay for it. Enter, the Soda Stream! You make your own sparkling water at home using a CO2 canister and appropriate bottle. I have been loving mine and actually feel hydrated. I enjoy the plain, but they have a large selection of flavors to choose from if you want actual soda or flavored water.

Barney Butter


I was selected as a Barney Butter Ambassador again for 2017. I really enjoyed being a part of the team last year because, well, they make a darn good product! I am really excited to share some recipes and do a couple giveaways for my blog and Instagram this year! They have a new product I am really excited about, DIP CUPS! Yup, almond butter in a cup! I like this more than the snack packs from other companies because it’s easier to get the almond butter out and you don’t have to massage the packet either! They also have almond flour and almond meal which I have been experimenting as a coating for tofu. Stay tuned!

Orgain Protein Powder

I found this new way to extend the amount of servings of oatmeal I get when I fill my oat bag (yup it’s a bag). Instead of a half cup serving of oats, some days I will do a 1/4 cup serving and then add a scoop of protein powder. It is just as filling and makes me oats last longer. I was sent Orgain to try and love the taste and texture. It adds a slightly sweet flavor to the oats, so I usually use a plain nut or PB on top. I like that it’s not as chalky as Vega, but thicker than Plant Fusion, the two other protein powders I’ve used.

Well that’s it! Have you all tried any of these? What are you most excited about for Spring?

Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

 

Chickpeas are a staple in my diet. Not only are they really versatile and able to be used in sweet and savory dishes, but they are a perfect food for runners. High in both carbohydrate and protein, beans in general provide many essential nutrients that I need to fuel long runs. Start your Meatless Monday off right!

Not only are they great in macronutrients, but they have a swell micronutrient profile as well. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber which helps cleanse the colon and maintain a healthy gut.

Why is that important?

Well, I eat a lot, fiber helps my body process those calories and nutrients and then swiftly eliminates the extras.

Chickpeas also provide 70% of your RDA for folate (helps make DNA) and almost 80% for both manganese and calcium (healthy bones, essential enzyme function).

Chickpeas are naturally gluten free, which brings me to the wonderful product I was gifted from Barney Butter: Banza Chickpea Pasta!

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Pasta is something I eat TONS of. Not only spaghetti, but I enjoy every shape, color and type available. When I was sent a few boxes of Banza to try, I was overjoyed simply because, well, a new type of pasta shipped to my door is like the second Christmas.

Banza pasta is non-GMO, naturally gluten-free and high in protein thanks to it’s signature ingredient: CHICKPEAS

How does it taste?

It’s heartier than other pastas I’ve tried, but honestly if I didn’t cook it myself, I wouldn’t know the difference. It was simple to make, delicious to eat and most importantly, I had a great run the next morning (that’s how I judge the worthiness of food).

Now of course I had to create a recipe with this pasta (although I loved it with this cheese sauce) and it seemed like a natural fit to make an almond butter pasta.

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The inspiration for this recipe comes from my attempt to use up veggies in my fridge for my future move and a stew I absolutely adore. At my (old..sob) past job, I always got excited for West African Stew. Not sure exactly what is in it other than collard greens, peanuts and sweet potato, but it is mighty delish!

This recipe is a take off from that. Subtract the sweet potato, add some beans and almond butter and we’ve got a WINNER WINNER TOFU DINNER!

This pasta dish is perfect for cold nights or next day lunches eaten cold. Try it out and then share the love and tell Banza what you thought!

abchickpea-pasta

Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup butter beans
  • 1 cup Banza Chickpea pasta, cooked to instructions

Directions

  1. In a small pot, boil the vegetable broth over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and salt. Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. While that is simmering, in a small bowl, stir together almond butter and tomato paste until combined.
  4. Transfer 1/4 cup of the simmering liquid to the bowl and stir until no clumps remain.
  5. Marry the contents of the bowl to the rest of the vegetable broth in the pot.
  6. Stir in the spinach and butter beans.
  7. Allow to heat through for another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to coat.

Serve immediately, keeps about a week in the fridge.

Try this Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta with Butter Beans made with @barneybutter and @eatbanzo #vegan #glutenfree Click To Tweet

Bliss Nut Butter Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

The power of peanut butter, the satisfying fullness from oats, the Omega-3s from chia seeds. Overnight oatmeal is what we all look forward to when the summer mornings are hot and the sweat starts early.

I cannot lie, as much as I hate finishing a jar of Bliss Nut Butter, I love eating my oats from the jar. Bonus if I remember to make the oats the night before, because that means they are cold! Yes, just like how I take my coffee in the summer, I will gladly take my oats equally as chilled.

Let’s talk about chia seeds, the secret addition to both this recipe and some Bliss Nut Butter products that has me swooning.

Chia Seeds contain all those heart healthy omega-3s that reduce inflammation. They also provide an antioxidant punch similar to blueberries and the correct calcium to magnesium ratio ideal for the skeletal and nervous system. Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds provide 98 calories of energy and 13% of your daily calcium. They are also high in fiber to help the digestive system out a bit.
I simply love the way they gel up and thicken whatever I am making. As a lover of thick smoothies, banana bowls and oats, adding chia seeds is a welcome addition to my meals.

Before I give you the recipe, it’s Wednesday so I know everyone wants to know what I’ve been eating. Thank you to JenArman and Laura for hosting!

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with @blissnutbutter #WIAW #whatveganseat Click To Tweet

Breakfast:

3

Apple, dried peaches and cold brew

Lunch:

1

Cheesy oats with sprouts and a hemp seeds, bread and butter pickles

Dinner:

2

Black beans, avocado and salsa bowl

Snack:

Red Velvet Oreos [unpictured because I forgot]

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Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

From at

Prep: Yield: 1Total:

You'll Need...

  • 3-4 tablespoons Bliss Nut Butter original peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder (I use Orgain, Plant Fusion or Vega)
  • 3 tablespoons blackberry jam
  • 1/4 cup granola

Directions

  1. Mix together milk and protein powder in a cereal bowl.
  2. Add in the oats and stir until combined.
  3. Stir in chia seeds.
  4. If the peanut butter is already in the jar, just pour oat mixture into the jar. If not, add your peanut butter to the bowl.
  5. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave another thirty. Stir. The peanut butter should be mixing into the oats, but still in a few globs in the jar.
  6. Store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top with jam and granola.

Enjoy!

Are you a fan of thick, dense eats?

What is your favorite peanut butter?

Feeding My Inner Beast: The Beyond Meat Beast Burger

You know my feelings on fake meats. Usually I leave them. I would just rather have a bowl of rice and beans.

It’s funny because I haven’t eaten meat in almost 5 years (I was vegetarian before vegan) but I always thought I would be able to remember what it tasted like. The other day, I was making someone a turkey sandwich at work and for the life of me, I could not remember what turkey tasted like. I even like, tried to remember.

But nope…nada…zilch.

I can’t remember what the most frequently eaten sandwich for 18 years of my life tasted like.

I even asked my coworker to describe it. And she was like “um…it’s kind of…bland…like I don’t know, there’s not much flavor.”

Hmm…guess I’m not missing anything.

Anywho, back to the Beast burger!

I was really excited to have this, simply because I’ve watched my friend Chris (The Vegan Zombie) explore the Vegan Beer Festival these past few weeks and try all the amazing vegan food. I was living through his YouTube Channel for a few days before realizing that duh, I could make those things too.

What is Beyond Meat? Its a game changer.

beyond meat

The Beyond Meat team believes there are better ways to feed the planet. They believe that plant based, whole food nutrition not only leads to healthier people, but a healthier planet.

Beyond Meat resolves to:

Reduce Animal Harm

Improve Human Health

Positively Impact Climate Change

Address Global Resource Constraints

They want people to still enjoy the flavors and textures from meat products, but do so in a healthier, kinder and more sustainable way. I can totally get behind that!

I just had to try them out. Even if you’re someone like me who can pass meat and give it the stink eye, the novelty and awe factor was just too great to pass up.

What is the Beast Burger? 23 grams of pea protein and veggies.

That is it folks. Just veggies.

What do you get in each package? Two frozen meatless patties that are hard to distinguish from beef.

Honestly, my coworker’s and roommate were impressed with the resemblance.

How do you cook it? 6-8 minutes per side, starting from frozen.

There is no defrosting necessary, which was great for me because I literally had 20 minutes to make this patty before work. I work well in time constraints haha.

And the most important part: How did it taste?

Well folks this is a loaded question. Quite honestly, I thought it was delicious and would eat it again. I was a bit out off by how real it seemed, but my coworker’s and roommate loved that. The burger I made had all the fixings from what I remember from my last hamburger. Mustard, onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese and I added sprouts. I used a Rosemary salt bagel as the bun because I am not a fan of the multigrain rolls we have at work. Go big or or home kids.

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It was very reminiscent of my burger days, and after I got over of how much it reminded me of an actual cow, I loved it! It has the mouth feel of a burger, pretty tender texture and holds up to a bagel bun and toppings really well. I was a happy eater 🙂

Just another indicator or delicious: when I want to take a nap after a meal and rub my tummy because it’s happy, that means lunch was good. After the Beast, I wanted to take a nap to relish in the awesome nutritious burger I just consumed. My next post race day meal will have to include this innovative burger!

Bonus: my coworker’s want to try it!

Would I recommend it? Of course!

I think that even if you’re sqimish around fake meats like me, it’s worth a go. It’s just really that good folks! For people who simply “cannot give up the meats,” this is a God send. There is honestly no excuse not to try this.

What has always boggles my mind is why, when there are so many wonderful foods that provide the same satisfaction as meat, people still eat it. The innovations at Beyond Meat are changing that.

Check out their website and sign up for their email list! Most months have a free voucher or coupon so you can try it yourself. Plant based eating is the future. Beyond Meat makes that transition a bit more easy.

The future of protein is here! Check out the Beast Burger from @BeyondMeat #vegan #protein #health #veganfood Click To Tweet

Have you ever tried Beyond Meat?

Want a free voucher? Leave a comment and I’ll pick one reader and send them some coupons!

Beating the hackers, No AC and the BEAST! Top 3 [06/24/2016]

Good morning everyone! I cannot believe I forgot to write the introduction to this post! I am linking up with Kate and Heather for some Friday Favorites!

Top 3 Highs:

1.) I got all the money I almost lost in the hacking situation returned to me. My bank was super helpful in guiding me through the process, freezing the money and getting me a new debit card. I wrote so many checks this past week that I am now professional. The people behind me in line at the grocery store were less than impressed, but hey, no debit card means doing things the slow way. Worth it p!

2.) Meeting a new running friend on my Tuesday run. He is a great runner and has a 3:02 PR in the marathon. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks it and I can’t wait to watch him do it!

3.) The beautiful weather is so inspiring! I feel like I have been more creative with food, redecorating me room and trying different running routes. I just want to soak up the energy the sun has provided. It’s wonderful!

Top 3 Lows:

1.) The AC unit at work short circuited on Tuesday and started blowing hot air. Yes, it was an 85 degree day and yes, it felt like a sauna. I kept trying to tell myself that people pay good money for this…matters were made worse by the lack of music also brought by the short circuited wires. Just a bad time.

2.) I still haven’t talked to my sister as of writing this post and her birthday is Saturday. I think I’m going to visit her at work here soon and apologize in person. I feel like even if I don’t mean it, God is telling me it’s the appropriate gesture. Edit: this turned into a high when I visited her on Wednesday at work. I gave her a birthday present and she wasn’t angry with me. I guess apologizing works sometimes.

3.) Filling out the FAFSA is a trip when you’re not at home and don’t have your tax return handy. I’ll have to get back to that.

Top 3 Eats:

1.) The Beast Burger

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I finally tried the epic burger I’ve heard so much about. Beyond Meat sent me some vouchers for free product as well as a tee shirt. I hadn’t had the chance to get the product before this week because my co-op was out. Well guys, it was good! Full review coming next week!

2.) Waffle sandwiches

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In my quest to eat a different breakfast everyday this week, I made waffles on Tuesday and turned them into sandwiches with banana and Bliss Nut Butter sunflower butter. Topped with maple syrup…just YUM!

3.) Box of bananas

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I think this needs no explanation.

Top 3 Instagrams:

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I need this on a tee shirt.

3

Jason Wachob is brilliant.

2

Pete did a great job with the #RunChat challenge!

That’s all for me today! Have a great weekend!